CREAMLINE team captain Alyssa Valdez is looking forward to learning from Chinese coach Li Huanning, who'll call the shots for the defending champs this year.
Valdez admitted they are still adjusting to their new mentor as the Cool Smashers start their title retention bid in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference, which kicks off on Sunday.
The former UAAP MVP out of Ateneo noted that Li, who replaced Thai coach Tai Bundit, is making an effort to get accustomed to his new team.
“He’s okay naman, he’s actually not lenient, but he wants us to really give our own ideas so there’s transparency on the coaching staff and sa players and I think it’s a good practice having that communication towards each other,” she said.
She added: “So I’m just really happy na nakikinig din siya and he’s willing to learn how to speak Tagalog and English,”
Li, 54, called the shots for the Chinese national team that saw action in the 2009 FIVB Men's Junior World Championship in Pune, India.
With a new coach on board, Creamline is heavily favored to win back-to-back titles this year.
Returning Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin and Venezuelan reinforcement Aleoscar Blanco will team up with an intact core led by Michele Gumabao, Jia Morado, Mel Gohing, and Valdez.
Star-studded as Creamline's roster may be, the pride of San Juan, Batangas remained wary of the other five teams.
“It’s a different battle talaga this Reinforced Conference lalung-lalo na magagaling talaga lahat ng imports,” Valdez said. “We’re banking also sa chemistry namin and we have a core so hopefully ‘yun ang ipapanlaban namin. May mga bagong players din kami na tutulong sa amin to fight for that crown again.”